One of you has to love more

My partner and I just celebrated our 16th anniversary together.  My parents have us beat by 40 years.

On the day of their 50th wedding anniversary celebration, I asked my mom for her secret to a successful marriage.

“One of you has to love more,” she replied.

Of all the answers she could have given me, that was the one I least expected.

I knew at that moment that if I Googled “woman who needs therapy more than anyone else in the world” a photo of my mom would pop up on my screen.

One of you has to love more?  Really?

Give up your hopes and dreams and make someone else happy so that you don’t have to walk through life alone.

Was that what my mother was suggesting?

Isn’t that living I lie, I thought?  Doesn’t that set you up for resentment?

As an eternal romantic and optimist I was offended by the concept of loving someone more than they loved me just so that we could keep the relationship going.

Being alone and true to myself seemed like a much better option.

To thine own self be true and all that jazz.

The concept of being a doormat for the rest of my life seemed about as appealing as having my heart broken every hour on the hour.  And yet, that’s what my mom was suggesting.

Or was it?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my mother in all the years that I’ve been her daughter is that she’s one wise lady.  And as all wise beings, you should never take what they say at face value.

You have to absorb their words, embrace them, turn them around in your heart, be angry about their implications, be inspired by their promise, try them on for size based on your own life experience,  seek their hidden treasure.  Only then will they make sense.

And then it dawned on me.

One of you has to love more … but it’s not always the same person doing the most loving.

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